BLOOMINGDALE, N.J. — No drug or doctor has ever been able to help Bloomingdale resident Sharie Spironhi manage rapid cycling bipolar disorder as effectively as understanding her own brain has, she said.
After a 1996 revelation she says showed her the power of faith, Spironhi — who says she hasn’t had a manic episode since — began using her her combined personal and professional counseling experiences to help others take control of their happiness.
And the key, she says, is knowledge.
“We know more about our cell phones than we do about our brain,” Spironhi said. Her 27-year battle with bipolar disorder and lifelong fascination with neuropsychology prompted her to write “Wired to Worry" and "Get Off The Worry-Go-Round."
The author will discuss "Get Off The Worry-Go-Round" Tuesday, April 19 at the Bogota Public Library. The event is at 7 p.m. on the second floor in the Seniors Center.
“You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken,” she said. “What’s broken is that your brain releases chemicals as a result of you disliking something.”
The natural overdose can be disengaged through a variety of tasks that will instead release “happy chemicals” and other mood stabilizers, like serotonin.
The amygdala — the subconscious part of the brain – is the seat of all emotions while the prefrontal cortex — “the front office” — is what controls it, Spironhi said.
Any inherent dislikes are automatically processed by the amygdala, which causes the release of stress hormones.
“Society has adopted a myth that we don’t fix things efficiently if we’re not freaking out about them,” Spironhi said. “We get mad because it feels good. We love to rage out because our brains are in dire need of being in control.”
Spironhi used that piece of information to her advantage, she said, to help control the stressors that were causing her rapid mood swings.
"And to be in control is like winning the emotional lottery," she said, "because then you can feel happy.”
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